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On This Day in 2008: Virat Kohli made his international debut

On This Day in 2008: Virat Kohli made his international debut

Virat Kohli (Photo: Twitter)

India won the Under-19 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur in early 2008 under the leadership of Virat Kohli. The talented batter was fast-tracked into the senior Indian team in August for the tour to Sri Lanka. Kohli, who was just 19 years old back then, got the chance to open in the absence of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, in the first ODI of the five-match series against Sri Lanka in Dambulla on August 18, 2008.

It is interesting to note that when Kohli was picked in the Indian squad for the Sri Lanka tour, he had played only eight List A matches. He opened alongside fellow Delhi batter Gautam Gambhir in his debut innings and scored 12 off 22 before being dismissed LBW by Nuwan Kulasekara. The ‘Men in Blue’ were bundled out for 146 as the hosts chased the runs with eight wickets to spare.

Kohli scored his first international half-century in the fourth ODI and eventually finished the series with 159 runs at an average of 31.80 and a strike rate of 66.53. The Indian team management saw potential in the right-handed batter and backed him to the hilt.

He did not take too long to repay the faith shown in him as he made himself an invaluable part of the India team which comprised a strong batting lineup with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, among others. In December 2008, Kohli received a Grade D contract from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and 15 years later, he is one of the most promintent sportspersons in the world, let alone India.

Virat Kohli’s staggering numbers in international cricket

The now 34-year-old Kohli is an ODI World Cup (2011) and ICC Champions Trophy (2013) winner already. In 111 Test matches, Kohli has scored 8676 runs at an average of 49.30. In ODIs, the stalwart has scored 12898 runs in 275 games at an average of 57.32. Kohli has also played 115 T20Is and amassed 4008 runs at an average of 52.74. Kohli is also closing in on Sachin’s record of 100 international centuries. So far, Kohli has 76 international tons – 29 in Tests, 46 in ODIs, and a solitary one in T20Is.

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